Are you promoting the right benefit points to your target audience? Product positioning is all about knowing who your target audience is and which benefits are most appealing to that particular group so that your marketing messages are more effective.
Why Product Positioning is Important
At the core of every successful marketing strategy is a firm understanding of who the target audience is, what they want and how a product meets the target audience’s needs. Product positioning is the process of figuring these things out so you know where your product fits in the market.
You are “positioning” the product in a way that will encourage the target audience to continue down the sales funnel.
Product positioning is the basis for all marketing initiatives. It’s the epicenter of the marketing plan. Without it your marketing efforts could be way off the mark, wasting valuable resources and time.
First Steps in Product Positioning
You’ve created a product, now what? Product positioning comes next.
Some elements of product positioning will be fairly obvious and may have already been considered. For example, the market category has probably already been identified, even if it’s a new category that the product is creating.
You may also have a well-established brand identity that will play a role in how the product is positioned in the market. If the brand identity hasn’t been established now is the perfect time to decide what you want to be known for and what will help convey that message. Every product created is an extension of the brand and should reinforce the identity you are creating.
Do Your Market Research
Marketing research is arguably the most important step for product positioning. It’s needed to identify both the target audience and the benefits that appeal most to people in the target audience. You can gather information using a focus group, online surveys, a beta test group, user behavior analytics or a combination of tools. Often data analytics is the most reliable tool since it is based on real user behavior rather than opinion or speculation.
You may find there is a primary target audience as well as secondary audiences that respond to the product in different ways. If this is the case you can run multiple marketing campaigns simultaneously that are tailored to the different target audiences.
Once the target audience(s) have been identified you’ll need to answer a few more questions to position the product appropriately:
What characteristics does the target audience value?
Where do they shop or research information?
What is it that they like most about your product?
Is there a similar product already on the market?
The answers to these questions will help you create a marketing campaign with informed product positioning.
Product Positioning and Product Differentiation
Product positioning can also be a form of product differentiation if the benefit points help the product stand out from competitors. You may find that product positioning highlights features that only your product offers. Or it explains how your product is superior to other options on the market.
Some marketers actually consider product differentiation to be part of the product positioning process. Whether it comes about as a result of determining product’s position in the market or it’s a conscious effort all on its own, product differentiation and product positioning are intertwined.
Think Beyond the Messaging
Product positioning is about more than the marketing message. It can also include:
- Product packaging
- Where the product is advertised
While crafting a compelling marketing message is the primary goal, that’s only one piece of the product positioning puzzle. In the truest sense, it’s the blueprint for your entire marketing plan. Stakeholders from various departments can use product positioning in their decisionmaking so that everything about the product is cohesive and on message.
Create a Product Positioning Statement
Once your research is complete you’ll have what you need to create a product positioning statement. The product positioning statement is a brief description of your product and why it appeals to the target audience. It’s used by the company as a starting point for messaging, taglines, packaging, etc.
Example Product Position Statement:
We created (product) for (target market) because they (want/need). (Product) is a (market category) that addresses (want/need) with (features/benefits).
The product positioning statement should be simple and direct. If you’re having trouble nailing it down start by defining the product’s mission statement. This statement outlines why the product was created in the first place.
All the stakeholders need to sign off on the product positioning statement since it will be used for virtually every decision related to the product.
Visualize the Future Position of the Product
One additional step that can aid in your product positioning efforts is to visualize the future of the product. Throughout the product lifecycle, the product will likely undergo changes to grab more of the market share and differentiate the product from competitors. However, that doesn’t mean the overall vision for the product changes.
You’ll be better prepared for the changes when the product launches if you take the time to visualize what the future holds.
- How do you envision the product expanding or growing?
- What other possible features could be added?
- Will other competitors be able to replicate your product?
- Are there other uses for the product?
Considering the possibilities and positioning the product for the future you envision can help you reach your goals.
Before a product launch, you can set yourself up for success by conducting marketing research aimed at defining product positioning. It’s an upfront investment that can help you gain more of the market share as quickly as possible because your marketing campaigns are more likely to resonate and reach the people who are most likely to purchase the product.
After the product launches you can fine-tune product positioning by analyzing user data to learn more about who your customers are and how they interact with your product.